Over Easy

Sometimes our domestic news sounds foreign, but today is a day I’ve chosen to visit foreign media and news. For Valentine’s Day something heartening would do well. A reassuring story about a reporter resolutely presenting news many of his fellows don’t want to know strikes a chord as the fact seeking congregate ever more in the remaining places truth is held in esteem, and insisted on.

In the interest of letting Israeli readers know the effects of the occupation of Palestine, a Haaretz reporter has made his emphasis the facts most of Israel’s press avoids or at least softens.

Gideon Levy is someone who evokes strong emotions from fellow Israelis.

The writer and journalist has made weekly visits, over the past three decades, to the occupied Palestinian territories, describing what he sees – plainly and without propaganda.

For some Israelis, he is seen as a brave disseminator of the truth. But many others condemn him as a propagandist for Hamas. And his columns for the Tel Aviv-based Haaretz newspaper have made him, arguably, one of the most hated men in Israel.

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Levy’s reports have told of young Palestinians gunned down by Israeli soldiers after being accused of throwing stones; the lack of retribution against soldiers who kill Palestinians in cold blood; and the plight of Palestinian farmers, who make their livelihoods from olive trees, but who have had them burned and destroyed by settlers time and time again.

Many in Israel have criticised Levy’s reporting, saying that he and his colleagues are responsible for reinforcing anti-Semitism around the world.

But others see Levy as an individual who is courageously going against the common views of the society in which he lives.

North Korea’s third nuclear test has put its few remaining allies in an awkward position.

China is likely to agree to new or tightened economic sanctions on North Korea or possibly curb its own assistance as its frustration with its ally grows, experts believe.

China summoned the North Korean ambassador and delivered a stern protest, and as after previous tests, the foreign ministry called for a calm reaction and denuclearisation talks. However, it stopped short of the harsh criticism it unleashed in 2006 when it described the North’s first nuclear test as “brazen”.

South American governments pledged to grow economies often are overriding the interests of their people to accomplish those aims, particularly with regard to mining and mineral extraction by industry. Water sources are a particular concern.

Leaders across the region, elected on promises to fuel economic growth and lift their populations out of poverty, are fast tracking water-use approvals for projects like the Conga mine. Helped by mining and agriculture exports, Brazil’s gross domestic product increased 43 percent from 2002 to 2012, after adjusting for inflation, while Chile’s economy grew 58 percent.

Peru is on target to expand 6 percent in 2013, the fastest pace in South America, driven by investments in gold, silver and copper mines.

South America has more water than any other region on earth, with 29 percent of the world’s reserves, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. The rub is that the water isn’t always where the best mineral or agricultural resources are located.

South Sudan struggles to survive after achieving status as a nation independent of Sudan. Its attempts to  supply citizens of the new state with basic necessities is under constant attack.

The South Sudanese government has long accused Sudan of backing rebellions in its territory to destabilise the country after it seceded in 2011, but this is the first time Juba has linked the alleged support of rebels with its attempts to build a new oil pipeline.

“The government of Sudan is deliberately sponsoring all militia activities in this country, especially in Jonglei state,” South Sudan’s information minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, said.

Authoritarian governments distinguish themselves as always by inability to respect humanity.

Still we proceed; Never.give.up.

(Picture courtesy of mhaithaca at flickr.com.)